Consequences Of Gaza Operation Felt In Israel With Suicides and Moves Away From Border
— Patrick Whalen (@whalenpj) October 1, 2014
This summer’s brutal assault on the people of Gaza by the Israeli government is still yielding casualties. While the operation itself cost 66 Israeli soldiers their lives, in the past month alone three Israeli soldiers who participated in Operation Protective Edge have committed suicide. The suicides are the latest indication of the psychological damage done to Israeli soldiers from participating in the war on Gaza. The IDF medical corps is said to have treated over 100 soldiers for mental health problems both during and after the military campaign that killed over 2,100 Palestinians. The overwhelming majority of the Palestinians killed were civilians, many children.
The consequences have not been limited to the military as some Israeli settlers have decided to leave settlements on the Gaza border. Numerous families from Kibbutz Nahal Oz have said they will not be returning to the settlement which is located near Gaza City. Though the settlement had been in proximity to numerous operations over the years it was not until Operation Protective Edge that the settlement became a center of combat with tunnels putting Hamas fighters right near the settlers.
Three soldiers who fought in this summer’s war in the Gaza Strip have committed suicide over the last month. In addition, a reservist called up for service in the north during the war to replace regular troops who were sent to Gaza committed suicide during his reserve duty, shortly after arriving at his base about two months ago…
Any time a soldier dies under circumstances other than battle, the Military Police opens an investigation. Only at the end of this investigation is the soldier officially defined as having committed suicide – or, in official Israel Defense Forces terminology, as a suspected suicide. In all three of these cases from Givati, the soldiers were found with their guns beside them. One was found just this past weekend.
Though it is unlikely that suicides in the military and some Israelis moving away from the Gaza border will have much operational effects, Operation Protective Edge was a major blow to Israel’s public image and international support with even US policymakers offering rebukes to the targeting of civilian buildings – including those that were designated as civilian shelters.
Another casualty of the Israeli assault on Gaza is the possibility for a two-state solution which fewer and fewer Israelis and Palestinians believe in. What that leaves is either an integrated universal state with both populations living peacefully or another generation of bloody war and suffering.